How often do artists hear the phrase " oh you're an artist, that must be such a relaxing thing to do". It seems harsh to explode that particular myth because all artists love our way of life which allows us to indulge in our passion of making marks on canvass. That said all artist embark on a new picture with a sense of trepidation with each being a new and long journey where one can stumble down a creative cul de sac with the end result being far from satisfactory.
Painting in watercolour only adds to the jeopardy as it takes no prisoners in allowing little or no chance of correction without it all turning into a muddy mess. I normally start my paintings with the sky, this is done using a 'wet in wet' technique where pigment is washed over wet paper. The process is like juggling plates for the 5 minutes that the paint remains wet. As every second passes more pigment fixes itself to the paper and the less I can do to change how it comes out. If anyone out there phones me at this time you will not get an answer because if I did pick the phone up the reply would be abrupt and quiet rude.
This period of frantic painting is brief but concentration filled. As normality returns to the studio and I turn the radio back on I take a look at my efforts and decide if it's worth continuing to the next stage, or whether I need to get a fresh piece of paper and start over. It's not unusual for me to have three or four goes before getting the sky somewhere close to what I had in mind, with the debris of failed attempts scattered around my work space.
So why do I use watercolour if it's so difficult? because when it does go well watercolours can sing out loud, the sort of songs W J M Turner composed with great regularity and most of us mere mortals dream of daily.